Update to Daily Health Check features reminders, text access, change in requirements – UB Now: News and views for UB faculty and staff

Campus News

Icon of a clipboard with a check mark and an image of a person using a smart phone to complete a daily health check survey. Icon of a clipboard with a check mark and an image of a person using a smart phone to complete a daily health check survey.

The update to the Daily Health Check allows users to receive daily reminders via text messages. Image: Bob Wilder


Published October 12, 2020

UB’s Daily Health Check is quickly becoming part of everyone’s routine, but a new update introducing text message notifications promises to make the COVID-19 screening tool even more effective and easier to complete. Beginning Oct. 13, members of the UB community who have access to a smartphone are strongly encouraged to enroll their mobile number. By doing so, they will receive automated text reminders to complete the Daily Health Check — delivered right to their phone.

Along with this update, UB has also changed requirements for employees and others who do business with the university. Previously, all UB faculty and staff, except those living outside of New York State, had to complete the Daily Health Check on their workdays. Now, completion is required

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Researcher explains benefits of using geotagged content in research – UB Now: News and views for UB faculty and staff

In a recent commentary published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, UB geographic information science expert Yingjie Hu and colleague Ruo-Qian Wang wrote about how Twitter’s decision to remove users’ ability to tag the precise locations of Tweets might affect research in disaster response, public health and other areas.

The authors concluded that the change may not have a pivotal impact on studies that rely on this kind of content, as a large proportion of precisely geotagged posts in three Twitter datasets they examined originated from third-party apps like Instagram (the datasets were originally collected for other studies examining people’s reaction to extreme weather events). The researchers also noted that Twitter still allows for less precise geotagging, enabling users to tag places such as a restaurant, a park, a city or a country, as opposed to a precise latitude and longitude.

Nevertheless, the recent change raises a number of issues

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New Book Edited by Dornsife Faculty Serves As Useful Guide for Urban Public Health Education

Urban Public Health: A Research Toolkit for Practice and Impact

October 7, 2020

An increasing majority of the human population resides in urban areas, and residents are affected in multiple ways by these settings. Our lives and our health are shaped by the design of buildings and transportation systems, access to improved sanitation and early childhood education, the availability of food stores and recreational spaces, and by a wide range of local policies from housing to health care access.

A new book, Urban Public Health: A Research Toolkit for Practice and Impact, edited by Gina Lovasi, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Urban Health and Co-Director of the Urban Health Collaborative, Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, Dean and Distinguished University Professor of Epidemiology, and Jennifer Kolker, MPH, Clinical Professor and Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and External Relations, tackles these issues and more. 

The overall progress of urban health is measured and monitored by

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Heart Sounds magazine produces special ‘social distancing’ edition – UB Now: News and views for UB faculty and staff

Historians will likely look back at the COVID-19 global health pandemic and the Black Lives Matter social protests as a unique period in the history of the world.

The editors of Heart Sounds, the annual magazine of literary, auditory and visual art published by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Center for Medical Humanities, felt it was deserving of a special “social distancing” edition.

“We sought to exhibit how we have managed to stay in high spirits during this period of social distancing. We hope that this issue will highlight the talents housed in our community and inspire creativity within our readers,” chief editors Brian Yu and Jee Eun Choi wrote in the edition’s introduction.

Heart Sounds was started two years ago by Sara Xu, a current fourth-year medical student, to allow artistic and literary expression in the Jacobs School community.

The magazine seeks to emphasize the importance

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Remillard Family Community Service Fund awards eight grants to faculty and students

The Remillard Family Community Service Fund has awarded eight grants for projects with the potential to improve the health of Central Massachusetts residents, particularly those who are economically or educationally disadvantaged or underrepresented.

Designed to amplify the impact of UMass Medical School on the local community, the endowed fund  provides support for community outreach programs undertaken by faculty, clinical staff, residents and students that are consistent with the education, patient care and research missions of UMMS.

The fund is awarding one-year grants of up to $20,000 each to the following projects:

Improving flu vaccination accessibility amidst COVID-19 within the Worcester Free Care Collaborative proposed by Ashvin Antony, SOM’23:  This grant will establish free flu vaccination stations for patients in marginalized communities served by the free clinics who can’t afford or get access to the vaccine, in order to improve health equity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Companion wellness program: Addressing

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WNY-based study aims to connect the dots on food access – UB Now: News and views for UB faculty and staff


Researchers know from many previous studies what prevents cash-strapped shoppers in underserved communities from buying more fresh produce. But little is known about which strategies are most likely to reach the people who need them, or have the most success in improving the diets of people in lower income areas.

A new UB study based in Western New York is the first that simultaneously examined the preferences of community members and compared those with the community-based programs and resources available to identify the most viable strategies for addressing disparities in healthy food consumption.

Previous research has shown that only 12% and 7% of adults living at or below the poverty line meet fruit and vegetable recommendations, respectively.

“We continue to find that cost, food preferences, availability, access and limited food assistance eligibility and/or benefits are persistent barriers. Residents of underserved communities feel that increasing the affordability

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Championing better health outcomes for sexual, gender minorities – UB Now: News and views for UB faculty and staff



Published September 2, 2020

Amy Hequembourg.

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified health disparities among minority racial and ethnic populations. Amy Hequembourg, associate professor in the School of Nursing, is also concerned about another population facing disproportionate health risks: sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations.

SGM populations represent diverse individuals who suffer from a variety of health disparities. Unique forms of stress resulting from discrimination and prejudice targeting SGM identities are at the heart of these disparities, and drive poor health outcomes and risky health behaviors.

“Heterosexism operates as a system of interrelated cultural, legal and social structures that assume compulsory heterosexuality, and marginalize and penalize those who don’t conform to that expectation, thus perpetuating inequality” says Hequembourg, whose research focuses on understanding why SGM individuals are at risk for experiencing adverse health outcomes.

“Sexual minority stressors, such as repeated exposure to daily micro-aggressions and prejudice, are rooted in

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